By: Vida Korhani
City hall was bustling with news crews and residents, waiting to see what will become of Rob Ford.
It was the Tuesday morning after Ontario Superior Court Justice Charles Hackland found Ford guilty of violating the municipal conflict of interest rules. The city solicitor, Anna Kinastowski, attended the meeting to address many councillors’ questions and concerns, given the release of Hackland’s decision. In a public announcement, she clarified details about the judgement.
“The judge suspended operation of that particular fact [Ford was overruled to vacate his seat] for 14 days from the date of the decision,” Kinastowski told the city councillors. “So the mayor is the mayor. It is business as usual.”
Which means, after two weeks, Ford might officially be removed from his position, but that is unlikely, she predicted.
It is understood that Ford will appeal the verdict, and as part of an appeal, the mayor will ask the three person, Divisional Court for a stay of Justice Hackland’s order.
“If that stay is granted, Mr. Ford remains as mayor of the city until such time as the Divisional Court releases its decision,” Kinastowski said. “The Divisional Court may make any decision that Justice Hackland could have made and that decision can not be appealed.”
While Ford is considering his options, one of his allies, Councillor Giorgio Mammoliti, Ward 7, told reporters that he believed Ford should step aside during the appeal process and allow the deputy mayor to act in his role for the time being.
“I think (Ford) has every right to appeal and he should, but the city of Toronto is bigger then any personality or anybody,” said Mammoliti, during a scrum with reporters in the public gallery. “And we should be thinking of the City of Toronto.”
Councillor Adam Vaughan, Ward 20, a longtime critic, told reporters that Ford is not only a part-time mayor, but he is also disinterested in his position.
“We have a code of conduct for a reason and the indifference, the belligerent indifference to that displayed by Rob Ford is quite frankly a situation that is very serious and we understand that ruling,” Vaughan said.
According to Kinastowski, if Ford is not granted a stay to allow him to remain in office or if Justice Hackland’s decision is not overturned, then council will have to decide within 60 days of the mayor’s absence whether to fill that vacancy by byelection or by appointment. However, she warned that for now, it is premature for the council to make any decisions.
Ford had made no comment before the time council broke for lunch.